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The Block Producer Blames Consumer Affairs Victoria For Houses Not Selling

Julian Cress the producer of The Block has come out all guns blazing at Consumer Affairs Victoria for sabotaging the auction of the four houses on the show.

An article on the SMH said:

The executive producer of The Block has slammed Consumer Affairs Victoria for scaring off potential buyers from the group-auction finale held on Saturday and broadcast on Sunday night to a year-best audience of 3.09 million viewers.

Julian Cress, co-owner of Watercress Productions, which made the show for Nine, said the investigation into underquoting by the four estate agents contracted by the contestants on the reality renovation show had created the impression that the reserve prices on all four houses were well above $1 million when history would show that was clearly not the case.

‘‘It was an absurd investigation in the first place and I’d think today they’d be taking a long hard look at themselves,’’ said Mr Cress.

‘‘On Sunday night they would have watched TV and realised the reserves were set well within the range the agents had been discussing.’’

The house at 41 Cameron Street, renovated by sisters Katrina Chambers and Amie Godde, sold shortly after being passed in for its reserve price of $860,000.

The agent for 43 Cameron Street, Clayton Smith of Jellis Craig, said he had shown the house to about 10 potential buyers yesterday and expected it to sell today (Tuesday). Ruth Roberts of Woodards was also believed to be close to a sale of number 37.

It is expected the renovators of both properties could yet make a tidy profit. ‘‘If those properties sell for above their reserve prices, we won’t be keeping the money, I can tell you that,’’ said Mr Cress.

Whatever the outcome, it will not go unnoticed by the consumer watchdog.

‘‘While the auctions have been completed, the sales campaign continues for the properties that were passed in, and Consumer Affairs Victoria will watch the outcome with interest,’’ said a spokeswoman yesterday.

The renewed interest in the properties could leave Katrina Chambers and Amie Godde, the sisters who left their husbands and children behind in rural NSW, as the only non-winners on the show, a situation Mr Cress said he hopes to address.

‘‘We have become very good friends with Amie and Katrina, and the Nine network doesn’t forget its friends,’’ he said. ‘‘We will support them in any endeavour they undertake. They’re terrific women, they gave a lot and they deserve something back — and we will do all we can to ensure they get it.’’

Mr Cress was stung by criticism in some quarters yesterday that the show’s contestants had been exploited, providing their time and labour for no financial reward while Nine enjoyed massive ratings, and advertising revenues, for the series.

‘‘Josh and Jenna are two of the most talented young designers I’ve ever seen and they’ve launched their company, Bicker Designs, out of this. The Block has launched their careers,’’ he said.

He said the contestants were paid $700 per person for the eight weeks they lived and worked on site during the show’s production.

I think Mr Cress makes a good point about the investigation maybe scaring off viewers. However I remember reading in a paper article a few weeks ago that they were expecting over $1 million for the houses, this would have spooked buyers as well.

There were a few factors in play that made The Block finale a bit of a fizzer.

What is a tad shocking in the article is where he states they paid the contestants $700 for their eight weeks on the show. Hopefully they were paid $700 per week.

If they were being paid being less then $100 a week for their time on the show that makes the Masterchef Australia stipend of $500 a week positively generous.

Contestants go on the show for reasons other than money and can carve out lucrative careers afterwards, however this small amount of pay can limit the type of person who applies for the show.

5 comments

1 Dutch Courage { 08.23.11 at 8:26 pm }

At least Josh got a cheap engagement ring out of it, swapping a special moment for a tacky piece of acting on TV.
I still can’t believe how people can even talk about spending a million or more on a small house in a very unattractive part of melbourne, with the council high rises full of druggies and dealers just around the corner…madness!

2 Izobel2 { 08.23.11 at 8:51 pm }

‘Bicker Designs’… how apt!

3 Izobel2 { 08.23.11 at 8:53 pm }

And anyway, let’s get off The Block and get on The Voice it’s great!

4 nittywitty { 08.23.11 at 9:04 pm }

Hooray to R&T for selling their house for $922000 giving them $72000 . Well the houses are selling Julian Cress. Don’t take them to auction next year.

5 Reality Raver { 08.24.11 at 2:44 pm }

Izobel2 – agree The Voice is awesome.